Happiness and how to find it
by Haley Yates, Adv. Dip. of Naturopathy. Published in ‘Healthy You’ magazine.
Why settle for feeling ok? Why even settle for feeling good, when you can feel AWESOME! Follow these tips to boost positivity and beat the blues.
Happiness literally starts in the gut Remember when you’re nervous how you get butterflies in your stomach? Well, it works the other way too, as what goes on in your gut can actually affect your mood. In fact, scientists often call the gut our ‘second brain’ and it has been observed that 95% of serotonin is synthesised and stored in the gut (serotonin is one of our happy chemicals and is what the SSRI’s antidepressants are designed to boost). So it’s important to look after your gut by addressing any digestive problems such as diarrhoea, constipation or bloating. Fermented food and drink such as kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir and pot-set yoghurts can enhance natural gut bacteria, as can supplementing with probiotics.
Avoid the rotten food to avoid the rotten mood! For healthy pathways of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, we need sufficient vitamins and minerals – including magnesium, zinc, B6 and niacin. In particular, research has shown that vitamin D deficiency is linked to depression, which is another reason not to go without a daily multivitamin and mineral.
A study done in 2005 showed more specifically that consuming blueberries and spirulina can improve dopamine levels. You can also incorporate the following mood-foods into your dietary regime for a natural boost of happy from their high levels of tryptophan or tyrosine: cashews, almonds, raw cacao, turkey, eggs and bananas.
A word from the wise Albert Einstein wisely said “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal. Not to people or things.”
If you don’t have a goal, or know where your path is taking you, perhaps it’s time to sit down and figure that out. Get a mentor to assist you write a five or 10-year timeline, and put down what you want in life. Stick this up somewhere in your house as a constant visual reminder of what you’re working towards.
That’s not to say that people aren’t important too. If you need a mood-boost then getting together with friends, watching a funny movie and being around positive people can provide an incredible uplift. Try to surround yourself with the people that you want to be like. If you spend time with positive happy people, their upbeat mood is likely to rub off and inspire you.
What’s your favourite colour? Did you know that the colour green can encourage growth, the colour blue can stimulate communication and the colour yellow can make us feel strong, bright and cheery? So banish the grey and surround yourself with beautiful bright colours this winter! Sometimes even imagining being in a room full of flowers and bright colours can be uplifting and mood boosting.
To keep a smile on your dial: turn your music up; eat well; exercise regularly; get your daily sunshine; surround yourself with bright colours, empowering quotes and positive people, and choose to be happy this winter!